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Friday, November 12, 2010

Amarena Brings Back the Free Spread ― But Only on Thursday

Posted By on Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 4:11 PM

On Russian Hill, a glorious once-a-week throwback. - YELP
  • Yelp
  • On Russian Hill, a glorious once-a-week throwback.

The place: Amarena, 2162 Larkin (at Green), 447-0441, amarenarestaurant.com

The hours: Thu. 6-9:30 p.m.

The deals: Weekly free buffet of Italian specialties

The digs: Tiny hideaway on a quiet corner of Russian Hill feels like a homey Tuscan hangout with its sponged peach walls, hardwood floors, standup bar and well-stocked wine racks. The glam locals and Eurotrash party music add a hint of the glitterati.

The verdict: Once upon a time San Francisco saloons routinely served elaborate free buffets in the post-work hours, but nowadays the complimentary spreads are few and far between and not particularly elaborate. Amarena's stipend-free feed is a marvelous throwback: spring greens in a light vinaigrette; Arborio studded with zucchini, carrots, and mozzarella; foccacia squares topped with melted cheese; penne in a rich tomato sauce; a delectable green lasagna layered with creamy pesto ― all of it hearty and delicious. In addition to seven reds, five whites, and two sparklers at $7-$15 per glass, the bar offers Peroni at $7 per bottle and a yummy sangria for $9 per serving. This is a cheerful, cozy place for a sip, a schmooze, and lots of good food.

Overall grade: A

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Matthew Stafford

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